The terrorism threat in the United States has changed significantly since the Department of Homeland Security was founded in 2002. We have seen a rise in homegrown terrorist activity targeting the places that are critical to our everyday life. Domestic terrorism events have steadily increased since 2014, with 2020 and 2021 having the highest numbers of attacks and plots. In 2021, the United States faced 73 terrorist attacks and plots, the highest number since the Center for Strategic and International Studies began tracking in 19941. In place of the highly organized, well-funded, and radicalized terror groups of the early 2000’s, lone wolves are now acting independently to wreak havoc in the places that mean the most to us and our communities.
Unfortunately, we can all think of real-life examples of schools or houses of worship falling victim to domestic terrorism, such as the recent shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Texas, which took the lives of 19 students and 2 adults. The federal government is acknowledging the shift in the threat landscape by placing significant focus and resources towards prioritizing community-level resilience, as evidenced by the significant increase in funding in the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).
Based on the increase in domestic terrorism, we expect to continue to see the NSGP budget. This substantial financial commitment emphasizes the Administration’s dedication to providing access to critical resources to enhance community resilience and protect non-profit organizations, like schools, houses of worship, and community centers across our country. These resources will enable communities to address their existing risks and mitigate capability gaps at the local level, thereby preparing for and protecting against events like those that took place in Uvalde and Buffalo.
If we zoom out and think about the impact of these changes and funding, it’s not an exaggeration to say that they are protecting the American dream. Safeguarding our communities from domestic terrorism protects our constitutional right to gather, to come together freely and to do so without fear. FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Program Grant dollars are going toward helping us to feel safe to express our religion, enjoy our favorite concerts and go to school – among other things. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with @FEMA Grant Programs Directorate in rolling out these important programs.